Exploring Curriculum Alignment through Syllabus Document Analysis: From National Language Policy to Local ELT Practice

Document Type : Original Article


University of Wollongong, Australia


Effective syllabus document design hinges on an alignment between learning objectives, teaching principles and curricular policy. Much of the work on syllabus design in the English Language Teaching (ELT) context focuses on the implementation of language teaching principles, such as those from the Communication Language Teaching (CLT) approach. Limited attention has been paid to this alignment, which is pivotal for ensuring the coherence and consistency between the intended outcomes, content selection and organisation, and assessment tasks. Employing qualitative document analysis (QDA), this study identifies the core syllabus elements and their alignment with current teaching approaches in twelve, localised ELT syllabuses. Utilising elements from Richards and Rodgers’ (2014) methods analysis and Nunan’s (1988) syllabus design, the analysis demonstrates that while CLT principles have been incorporated into the syllabuses, misalignments remain, such as those between intended objectives and assessment tasks. This paper offers an analytic framework to guide teachers in designing a more closely aligned syllabus and making visible its connections.